No, that headline is not a joke. For those of you who are not aware of what’s going on, the tiny Leith, North Dakota is attempting thwart attempts by (Neo)-Nazis to take over the town and turn it into a hotbed of white nationalism.
It all started last year when white supremacist Craig Cobb started buying up land in the town, which has a population of around 20 people. As of September 2013 he owns at least 13 plots and he has given away several more to fellow white supremacists. He hopes to flood the town with his fellow travelers and crowd out the original residents, two of which are a mixed-race couple.
Obviously, the town didn’t take too kindly with this and started a public relations campaign to kick out the Nazis. This got the attention leader of the National Socialist Movement, of Jeff Schoep, leader of the National Socialist Movement. The NSM is the largest neo-Nazi organization in the country, with 69 chapters in 35 states. He decided to make a “fact-finding” trip to Leith check out the situation for himself and to “protect” Cobb’s civil rights.
Schoep is quoted as saying that the Nazis are here to stay and that he has “every intention of legally assuming control of the local government.” Organizations such as Anti-Racist Action and the Last Real Indians protested his visit and vow to help the town fight off the Nazis.
To quote a cartoon: Nazis are bad, mmkay? But I’m not exactly sure what the residents of Leith can really do here. You can’t stop people from buying land and moving into a community just because they are racist jerks. The Constitution protects even the most vile of speech and it’s that legacy of freedom of expression that makes America stand out among the nations of the world.
The only recourse I see is to get even more anti-racists to move into town in order to keep the racists from taking over. There are only so many Nazis in this country and I can’t imagine they’ll get more than a hundred people. All Leith needs is a hundred tolerant Americans to take up the cause of fighting hate and move out into the middle of North Dakota.